Category Archives: Do It

Just Add Water: 5 Water Sports to Try This Summer

In the summer, we look for ways to keep from melting into human puddles. Water sports offer a fun and satisfying way to cool off and stay active during the summer months when air-conditioning and popsicles fail us. While we’re happy to simply splash around at a nearby pool or lake, we prefer to get our heart rates up and log in some time at our favorite state parks with some of the following water sports you might want to try this summer.

Paddle Boarding

Image: www.imagefave.com

Image: www.imagefave.com

Don’t let the name fool you; this is no doggy paddle. Paddle boarding is a form of modified surfing that involves either kneeling or standing on a special board and navigating gnarly waves with a single paddle. Paddle boarding requires a combination of balance, coordination, and strength, which results in a full-body work out at any level of paddling. Beach bods here we come! The best part of paddle boarding is its flexibility as a sport and hobby; as a paddler you get what you give, and can modify your “work out” to meet your physical demands. Whether you choose to go the distance (pros paddle upwards of 20 miles at a time), zen out with stand-up paddle board yoga, or just keep it casual, paddle boarding can be as rewarding as it is fun.

River Tubing

Image: lohisport.wordpress.com

Image: lohisport.wordpress.com

Not all water activities seek to make a hardbody out of you; for the lazy water babies out there, there’s river tubing. This leisurely activity attracts kids and adults alike, as it requires little else than the ability to kick back and relax. Since many rivers transcend state boundaries, river tubing allows you to literally float from one state to another, no toll taxes required. Since most tubing facilities permit snacks on the trip, this laid-back activity is the perfect way to get your friends and loved ones away from the boob tube and onto an inner tube!

Windsurfing

Image: http://www.seabreeze.com.au

Image: http://www.seabreeze.com.au

On the top of our list of best hybrid sports (aqua bowling and rhythmic snorkeling didn’t quite make the cut) is windsurfing. An exciting combination of surfing and sailing, windsurfing thrives on gusty weather, but don’t you dare call it a breeze! In the early 80′s windsurfing was recognized as an Olympic sport, though most of its popularity lies within a less competitive, leisurely crowd. Though the equipment for windsurfing can cost a small fortune, most parks and recreation areas that allow for windsurfing have rental facilities, so you can try out the sport at a relatively low cost.

Hydrobiking

Image: www.tumblr.com

Image: www.tumblr.com

Put the pedal to the metal…er…water this summer by taking a hydrobike out for a spin on your local lake. Like something out of an H.G. Wells novel, a hydrocycle or hydrobike is a tad awkward looking, but looks can be deceiving—hydrobiking is a blast! This solo sport uses air generated by the rider’s pedaling to propel the bike forward and often resembles a pedal boat rather than a bicycle, as the name suggests.

Waterskiing

Image: Flickriver.com

Image: Flickriver.com

Hold on tight this summer, because more and more state parks are adding waterskiing to their list of available activities. While it may appear that water skiers are just along for the ride, this watersport requires both upper and lower body strength, balance, and endurance just to stay afloat. On the flip side, don’t be intimidated by the challenge of waterskiing. Once you get the hang of it (get it?) the rush you get from the speed and wave jumping will become positively addicting.

 

July’s Best State Park Events

park rangers, demos, festival, Eno River, state park, kids

Image: www.ncparks.gov

July is bursting with great events (and fireworks!) at state parks around the country. We’ve combed through the event calendars and uncovered the ones that you won’t want to miss:

Three Rivers Regatta
Point State Park, Pennsylvania
July 2 – 4, 2014

Three Rivers Regatta, Point State Park, Pennsylvania, crowd, boats, water, festival

Three Rivers Regatta [Image: www.brooklineconnection.com]

Point State Park is the place to be this summer! Just a few weeks after holding the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Point State Park gears up for another colossal event: the Three Rivers Regatta. Work on your summer tan while at Regatta Beach (one of only two makeshift inner city beaches in the world), then mosey on over to the larger-than-life replica of the Battle of Ft. McHenry made entirely of sand. Don’t blink or you could miss the powerboat races, where boats frequently top speeds of 125 mph!

Looking for more excitement? This year, the Regatta is hosting the XPogo World Championships in addition to BMX and agility dog stunt shows. A fan favorite is “Anything that Floats,” a parade of handmade, crazily decorated parade floats that bob down the river. This year’s headliners include American rock singer Steve Augeri, former lead vocalist for the rock group Journey, jazz musician Kenny Blake, and Beatlemania Magic. The Regatta culminates with Pittsburgh’s Official 4th of July Celebration fireworks, widely considered to be one of the Top 10 Fourth of July fireworks displays in the country. And did we mention that all of this fun is free? There is no admission fee and no charge for any of the Regatta’s concerts, acts, activities, or events!

 

Festival for the Eno
Durham City Park, North Carolina
July 4 – 5, 2014

Festival for the Eno, drums, band, live music, North Carolina, crowd, summer, tents

Festival for the Eno [Image: blog.fmrealty.com]

Looking for fantastic music this Independence Day weekend? Check out the 35th Annual Festival for the Eno in Durham, North Carolina. With over 65 acts on four stages, there’s sure to be something that strikes your fancy. All proceeds of ticket sales go towards funding important conservation of the Eno River Basin. An assortment of local food trucks will be serving up some great bites, and the Sweetwater Beer Garden at the heart of the festival will be happy to pour you a local brew. Be sure to rent a kayak or canoe so you can spend some quality time paddling around on the festival’s namesake! Need a place to crash for the night? Using Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for North Carolina State Parks, you can easily rent a campsite or vacation cabin at Eno River State Park.

 

World Championship of Catfishing & Independence Day Celebration
Pickwick Landing State Park, Tennessee
July 4 – 6, 2014

Catfish, World Championship, Tennessee, fishermen, summer

World Championship of Catfishing [Image: www.tnvacation.com]

Catfish, fireworks, bluegrass, golf. What better way to celebrate Independence Day? Pickwick Landing State Park will present an excellent fireworks display over Pickwick Lake on July 4th. Spend the night at Pickwick Landing’s inn, so you can tee up at the golf course or lounge at the beach bright and early the next day.

Nearby Savannah, Tennessee, also known as “Catfish Capital of the World,” is currently hosting the National Catfish Derby. Through July 5, any catfish caught in the Tennessee River is eligible to win. (Don’t forget to upload photos of your own monster catch onto Pocket Ranger Trophy Case®!) On July 6, the World Championship of Catfishing will have its final weigh-in at Pickwick Landing State Park with cash and prizes awarded to the winner. Not so interested in noodling for your own catfish? Then stick around for the after-party for free catfish and live music. Or grab a lawn chair and head to the 35th Annual Savannah Bluegrass Festival to listen to the best that Tennessee has to offer.

 

11th Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival
Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio
July 12 – 13, 2014

Toledo Lighthouse, girl, sunglasses, water, Lake Erie, lighthouse

Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival [Image: www.toledoblade.com]

Looking to tour the inside of a 100-year old lighthouse this summer? Head to the 11th Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival at Maumee Bay State Park! Since Toledo Lighthouse remains active, this festival is one of only two times annually that the lighthouse is open to visitors. Afterwards, visit the Nautical Village arts & crafts show to pick up some lighthouse-inspired souvenirs and try your luck at the silent auction. With over 200 items at the auction, you’re bound to win something! Help yourself to delicious food like brats, homemade fries, shrimp, and funnel cake while listening to Jimmy Buffet-style musical entertainment at the park’s amphitheatre. And while you can’t spend the night in the lighthouse, you can reserve a campsite (or a yurt!) at Maumee Bay State Park.

 

Bannack Days
Bannack State Park, Montana
July 19 – 20, 2014

Bannack Days, Montana, collage, pioneers, old, horses, gunfight

Bannack Days [Image: blog.rv.net]

A fun-filled weekend celebrating 152 years of history, Bannack Days at Bannack State Park is something you don’t want to miss! Learn how to shoot a black-powder rifle, pan for gold, and hand-dip a souvenir candle. Watch the local blacksmith forge incredible works of art and take a wagon ride along Bannack’s historic main street. Get ready for good eats like ice cream, kettle corn, fry bread, corn on the cob, and fresh lemonade. Throughout both days, there will be plenty of live bluegrass, gospel, and old-time fiddler music. And keep your eyes peeled for a few staged gunfights!

 

4th Annual Wakonda Indian Festival
Glen Elder State Park, Kansas
July 19 – 20, 2014

Wakonda Indian Festival, Native American, dance, feathers, tribal dress, haybale

Wakonda Indian Festival [Image: www.sparkpeople.com]

Dancing, drumming, storytelling: Learn all about Native American culture firsthand at the 4th Annual Wakonda Indian Festival at Glen Elder State Park. Waconda Lake was once a spring, believed to hold great healing powers. On the shores of this lake, there will be traditional and contemporary Native American drumming and dances, such as the Hoop Dance and Crow Hop Dance. Stories and legends will be told by master storyteller Ron Brave in the festival’s tipi. Help yourself to delicious Indian tacos, fry bread, and buffalo burgers, and browse the fine silverwork, leatherwork, jewelry, and dreamcatchers on display. Since it’s sure to be a bit warm that day, bring along a bathing suit so you can take a dip in Waconda Lake.

 

Hiking Through the Needles – Canyonlands National Park

Contributed by Michael Restivo of Mike off the Map

Rising dramatically above the desert landscape, the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park encompasses deep gorges, sandstone basins, and the titular gold pillars that line the trail. Deep in the Needles are some of the Canyonlands’ most secretive highlights: pools set between the walls, narrow caves and slot canyons ripe for exploration, and a spectacular 450-foot arch set within a stone amphitheater. The Needles are so large and wide that hikers are hard-pressed to find other parties in the canyons. Side-trails weave for miles between narrow ravines and camping sites perch on ledges high above dry streambeds. Hiking here is unlike anywhere else.

arch in Canyonlands National Park

Starting just off the Squaw Flat Campground, the trail cuts through an arid desert landscape lined with desert sage, cacti, and desert roses. Within the first few miles, hikers are already climbing through the canyons, surrounded by walls of rusting red stone formed over millennia by wind and water. Cairns mark the way, as the path traverses the angled cliffs into sparse forests of spindly branched trees. The desert atmosphere is at its best as ravens fly overhead, rattlesnakes chase jackrabbits, and rodents burrow into sandy crevices.

While the entire loop can be hiked in one day, it’s best done as a multi-day trip. One of the most unforgettable moments of trekking through the Canyonlands is camping on the ledges over the gorge. Sitting in the tent and watching the sunset illuminate the pillars is one of the highlights of camping in the desert. This is the same landscape that inspired Edward Abbey.

tent in the Canyonlands

From the first campsite, the trail descends into the canyon and tracks towards Elephant Canyon. While it initially treads through the sage and trees, it suddenly opens into a circular basin of towering walls, rock towers, and caves. There are plenty of opportunities for exploration off the beaten path. The cracks in the canyon are wide enough for a person to squeeze through where the light filters in through an opening in the ceiling and dances on the wall while a crevice runs through the center.

The trail drops into tunnels through the rock, emerging on a circular rocky field just under the Needles. A series of bolted ladders ascend over the canyon wall and drop into a dry ancient stream bed set under the sandstone towers. Deep in the gorge, this is where the splendor of the Canyonlands really begins to reveal itself. One of the most spectacular sights in the entire park is the hike to Druid Arch, a trail that because of its complexities and location isn’t heavily treaded.

Michael Restivo hiking up a ladder in Canyonlands National Park.

The trek to Druid Arch starts by walking inside the dry stream, with the Needles towers on one side, canyon wall on the other, and a desert forest growing in the rocky center. While the trail-marker says it’s only two miles, it feels much longer as hikers walk across stone ledges precariously placed along the wall. The trail descends on the other side of the canyon, across waterways and through a boulder field before a scramble and a climb up several bolted ladders brings hikers to one of the most breathtaking sections of the park.

Druid Arch reveals itself slowly as the final climb of the trail slowly curves around the 450-foot tower. The arch rises in the center of an amphitheater-like setting surrounded by smaller towers, but with nothing around that comes close to matching the arch’s elegance and grandeur. The arch is named for its resemblance to Stonehenge, with rectangular, blocky pieces set over a narrow opening. The ledges that circle the tower provide a view from every angle and when seen at dusk, the sandstone emanates a golden glow that radiates on the canyon walls.

hiking through the sand dunes at Canyonlands National Park

The return to the trailhead loops around the opposite end of Elephant Canyon, squeezing between narrow walls, climbing over petrified sand dunes, and ducking between narrow tunnels in the rock. Monument Valley and the La Sal Mountains rise majestically in the distance as the Canyon trail merges with Squaw Flats and emerges to the parking lot.

What makes the Canyonlands special is the trails are never straightforward. Side slots, caves, and treks to the towers means that there’s always going to be a new experience. After seeing the Needles and hiking to its spectacular arch, a return trip is mandatory.

scenic view of Canyonlands National Park

Four Pennsylvania State Parks with Beautiful Water Views

Contributed by Katie Levy, Adventure-Inspired

One of my favorite ways to make the most of warm weather hiking is to target treks with waterfalls. There’s just something extra wonderful about feeling the cool spray of a towering cascade on a summer day. But waterfalls aren’t the only water-based destinations to be on the lookout for this summer. Streams, creeks, and rivers are great features to plan your hikes around. Here in Pennsylvania, there are plenty of beautiful water views, but four state park scenes stand out in my mind.

Hyner View State Park, View of the Susquehanna River

Hyner State Park

Hyner View State Park

I made my first trip to Hyner View State Park with Philadelphia-based TerraMar Adventures. At the park, visitors have access to a beautiful vista overlooking the Susquehanna River.  But it’s no ordinary vista; the overlook doubles as a launch point for hang gliders. The Hyner Hang gliding Club provides resources for hang gliders and park visitors alike if you’re interested in a different vantage point. It was awe-inspiring to watch hang gliders sail around in the sky, but even after they’d landed and as the sun set, the view just kept getting better.

To access the vista, drive up Hyner View Road straight to the overlook. The overlook wall was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and you’ll find a bronze statue near the overlook dedicated to the CCC. Though activity options at Hyner View State Park are limited, the largest state forest in Pennsylvania’s state forest system is right around the corner. Sproul State Forest offers plenty to do for hikers, campers, mountain bikers, and boaters.

Ralph Stover State Park, Access to Tohickon Creek

Beautiful Water Views

Ralph Stover State Park

Rock climbing is what initially brought me to Bucks County’s Ralph Stover State Park, but views of the Tohickon Creek provide an extra bonus when I’m not on belay. Though Ralph Stover is small, its 45 acres include beautiful picnic areas, a short hiking trail, and even whitewater boating opportunities when the creek is high enough.

To experience Tohickon Creek up close, use the hiking trail in the Island Picnic Grove. But if it’s a vista you need, or climbing you crave, head to the High Rocks section of the park. The cliffs are 200 feet tall in some spots, making Ralph Stover an ideal climbing destination. It’s also a great spot to enjoy views of Tohickon Creek and the surrounding wooded areas. Nearby Tohickon Valley Park offers overnight camping if you’re hoping to get some extra time at Ralph Stover.

Ohiopyle State Park, Adventures on the Youghiogheny River

Encompassing over 19,000 acres an hour south of Pittsburgh, Ohiopyle is a water-based recreation lover’s paradise. The twisting, turning Youghiogheny River Gorge passes right through the middle of the park and the lower portion of the river is a favorite for whitewater enthusiasts, including the Wilmington Trail Club’s kayakers.

Local rafting companies offer guided whitewater rafting trips if you’d prefer to experience “The Yough” in a bigger boat, but Ohiopyle is also a great destination for hikers. With the nearly 80 miles of trails, hikers have plenty of opportunities to see the river up close without a boat. From Baughman Rocks, visitors can see the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania, and both Jonathan Run and Meadow Run are touted as must-see spots. Ohiopyle is also home to a portion of the Laurel Highlands Trail, a strenuous 70 mile backpacking and hiking trail.

Tyler State Park, Wandering Along Neshaminy Creek

The first time I visited Tyler State Park, a 1,700 acre gem in Bucks County, my hiking partner and I had no idea what to expect. All we knew was that the relatively flat hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails meandered all over the park, and it was our goal to see as much of it as we could.

Neshaminy Creek runs right through the park, and thanks to the extensive trail system, it’s possible to stay along the creek for the entire distance of Tyler State Park’s boundaries. The Schofield Ford Covered Bridge, accessible via the Covered Bridge hiking trail, is a great destination to visit. Trails are clearly marked and if you’re planning to include multi-use trails in your trip, be sure to note which trails are designated for different activities. In addition to miles of trails, Tyler State Park offers picnicking, fishing, boating, a center for the arts, and a variety of other activities.

Do you look for waterfalls, creeks, streams, and rivers when you plan summer hikes? Have you been to any of these destinations? Where are your favorite water-based destinations in warmer weather? Leave a comment!

 

Stay at a Frank Lloyd Wright Cottage at Mirror Lake State Park!

If you find yourself looking for a destination in Wisconsin that’s not only beautiful, but offers the opportunity to stay in unique quarters, then come to Mirror Lake State Park! This 2,179-acre park is located in the Wisconsin Dells region in the southern portion of the state. Named for the lovely 137-acre Mirror Lake, this state park offers extensive camping opportunities and activities for visitors to enjoy. It also features the historic Seth Peterson Cottage, an amazing architectural wonder designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. Even more amazing is that this cottage is available for rent! More on the Seth Peterson Cottage later; let’s first talk about what Mirror Lake State Park has to offer.

Image: travelwisconsin.com

Officially named a state park in 1962, Mirror Lake State Park has 151 campsites and contains 28.4 miles of hiking trails, 17.4 miles of cross-country skiing trails, 9.2 miles of mountain biking trails, and 1.2 miles of trail for snowshoeing. Swimming, fishing, and no-wake boating is allowed in the lake. Visitors can also picnic along the shore at one of the picnic areas. There is also a professional-class golf course. In 2003, the northwest corner of the park was named the Mirror Lake Pine Oak Forest State Natural Area for the abundance of diverse and beautiful plant life. This area is open for all to take in its green beauty.

Image: dnr.wi.gov

In 1958, construction began on the Seth Peterson Cottage. Wisconsin native and world famous architect and artist Frank Lloyd Wright was asked by computer operator and occasional collaborator Seth Peterson if he would design the cottage on a piece of property Peterson had purchased near Mirror Lake for himself and his bride. Wright was almost 90 at this point and was reluctant to take on any more projects. He finally agreed, and Seth Peterson Cottage would be the last Wisconsin building designed by Wright.

Image: sethpeterson.org

After a restoration project in the 1990s, it was decided that the Seth Peterson Cottage would be made available as a rental for visitors year-round. It provides a rare and unique opportunity to stay in a home designed by one of the most famous architectural designers ever. Since it’s nestled in the woods guests can enjoy the peace and solitude of their surroundings, or go out and enjoy the amenities of Mirror Lake State Park!

Image: wisdells.net

Mirror Lake State Park is located near Devil’s Lake State Park, as well as near a number of tourist attractions. These include the Circus World Museum, the H.H. Bennett Studio State Historical Site, and the North Freedom Railway Museum. It is also 3 miles from the city of Wisconsin Dells, which is full of its own attractions including water parks, live entertainment and theater, amusement parks, and golf.

Image: carrcialdella.com

For more information on places to fish and hunt in Mirror Lake State Park, as well as the rest of  the state of Wisconsin, check out the Pocket Ranger® official Wisconsin Fish & Wildlife Guide here! If you’d like to know more about Mirror Lake State Park click here. For more information on renting the Seth Peterson Cottage click here!

 

State Parks Where Summer Blockbusters Were Filmed

When it’s summer and people need to beat the heat or escape from a rainy day, there’s no better sanctuary than a movie theater. In the 1970′s, movie studios realized the potential to make a fortune by releasing their most expensive films during the summer months.

Some movies require unique and isolated places in nature to stage their monstrous action sequences. Sometimes a frozen tundra will do, or a location shoot in New Zealand. Other times a trip can be made to a local state park! Here are some state parks (and a state historic park) where summer blockbusters were filmed.

Leo Carillo State Park

Image: destination-southern-california.com

Leo Carillo State Park is located in Southern California and is a component of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Many iconic scenes from past summer blockbusters were filmed here. Most notably, the original 1984 version of The Karate Kid was filmed here, specifically the scenes where the bullied Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio) is taught karate by sensei Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita) on the beach after learning preliminary karate/car shining skills like “wax on, wax off”. The scenes of him training are so iconic that they’re even featured on the poster. To learn more about Leo Carillo State Park, click here!

Image: upload.wikimedia.org

Another summer blockbuster filmed here that involves a lot of beach scenes is Point Break. This 1991 action movie stars Keanu Reeves as an FBI agent named Johnny Utah, who goes undercover as a surfer to investigate a series of bank robberies performed by four guys wearing masks of ex-presidents. The leader of this gang is Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze. Many beach scenes from the movie were filmed here. The suspenseful final scene of the movie, supposedly taking place in Australia, was filmed here in Ecola State Park, which is located in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Image: beachconnection.net

Malibu Creek State Park

While Malibu Creek State Park has been the location of many famous movie and TV shoots, only two that we could find really qualify as summer blockbusters. The 1976 science fiction classic Logan’s Run features a scene of the two protagonists (Michael York and Jenny Agutter) walking along the water in Malibu Creek State Park after escaping their doom in the city.

More randomly is that the 2004 comedy classic Anchorman filmed scenes here. With the self-referential comedic style of that film, it’s not a mystery why, since such other random productions as M*A*S*H* and the original Planet of the Apes were also filmed here! It says something for a state park when its landscape is as recognizable as the actors and actresses themselves. To learn more click here!

Image: scoutfitters.org

Hunting Island State Park

Image: parkvisitor.com

State parks are often used as shooting locations in movies because their landscapes are untouched and unique. This allows for scenes to be filmed that are supposed to take place on another planet, or simply in other parts of the world. We mentioned the Australia scenes in Point Break earlier, but how about the Vietnam scenes in a little movie called Forrest Gump?

The wildly popular 1994 film Forrest Gump was a massive success and a huge award winner. A number of state and national parks were used for location shots in this movie. Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina was where the harrowing scenes that took place in Vietnam were shot. Also, the scene where Forrest’s epic run across the country came to an end was filmed in the vast wilderness of Pisgah State Park in New Hampshire. You can find out more about Pisgah State Park and other New Hampshire State Parks here, and Hunting Island State Park here!

Image: wisdomwebzine.com

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Image: yosemitegoldcounrty.com

Affectionately know as “The Movie Railroad”, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park and the operational Sierra Railway has been used in numerous western movies and TV shows. It is a part of the California State Park System. This railroad originally served the West Side Lumber Company mill at Tuolumne from the late 19th century through the 1960s. The railway’s Jamestown locomotive is remarkably still intact and continues to function. Movies have been filmed here since 1929, starting with The Virginian.

Two summer blockbusters filmed here were Unforgiven and Back to the Future Part IIIUnforgiven was the successful and award winning swan song to director and star Clint Eastwood’s participation in western movies, a genre he helped redefine starting in the 1960s. Back to the Future Part III was the much-anticipated 1990 sequel and conclusion to the Back to the Future trilogy, with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Many of the train scenes were filmed with the Sierra Engine #3 train.

Image: visiting.hillvalleycity.com

Unfortunately, as is the case with many California state parks, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park was almost closed in 2008. As recently as 2012 it has been slated for closure, but due to efforts of locals and park enthusiasts it will now be open indefinitely. Not only that, but funding has been received for major repairs and restoration to the Sierra No. 28, a steam locomotive original to the Sierra Railway.

To learn more about Railtown 1897 State Historic Park click here.

Honorable Mention: The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Image: 0.tqn.com

While the 1997 summer blockbuster The Lost World: Jurassic Park is obviously not a state park, it does hold the honor of being filmed in multiple state parks! Among them are Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and Patrick’s Point State Park. All of these parks are located in California, and as of now, none are home to any dinosaurs.

Image: latimesblog.latimes.com

Even if we’re not physically at these state parks, movies can take us there, whether we’re in a theater or just relaxing at home. If you’re in California or any of the other states mentioned, it’s worth taking the time to check out these beautiful and unique places. You can be a part of film history!

Your State’s Flower

If you are a person who adores flowers, then you will be interested to know what flower belongs to your state. When you are out in your state park, try to spot one of these flowers and share your photos on our Pocket Ranger® social media channels. Here are some of our favorite state flowers. Coincidentally, we happen to have apps for these states!

Alabama

Camellia on green shrubs

Image: www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

The flower that belongs to this state is called a camellia. Camellias are evergreen shrubs and small trees that grow in slightly acidic soils with humus and good drainage. They usually grow 1 to 12 centimeters in all seasons and they range from white to pink to red.

Connecticut

Pink and white mountain laurels on green shrubs

Image: breathtaking-blog.blogspot.com

The mountain laurel is this state’s flower. These grow in large, rounded mounds and have dark green foliage that remains on the plant all year. In late spring, it bears clusters of flowers in white, pink, and red. Mountain laurels prefer moist grounds and they grow up to 10 feet in height. They also tolerate full sun in moist soil, although they do grow better in partial shade if the soil gets dry.

Delaware

Pink Peach Blossoms on tree branch

Image: shampitaaa.deviantart.com

Delaware is the state of the peach blossoms. These flowers blossom in early spring. They range in color from very light pink to red and lavender depending on the cultivar. The peach blossom is 2.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter with five petals. It’s striking against with the tree’s bark.

Florida

Orange Blossom with flower

Image: www.humanflowerproject.com

This state is known to be the sunshine state but it is also the home of the orange blossom. The orange blossom is an evergreen tree that grows to the height of 20 to 30 feet. It can be found blooming all year round in Florida, which means more oranges!

Kentucky

Yellow Goldenrod with green leaves

Image: ztona.org

Goldenrod flowers are Kentucky’s state flowers! It is a perennial plant that is known for its healing properties. It has a long wood stem with spiky tooth-like parts and have yellow flowers that grow in thick clusters and they grow up to 12 inches. The yellow parts of the plant can be used in salads and the leaves can be cooked like spinach or added to soups, stews, or even casseroles.

Missouri

Pink Hawthorn Tree

Image: theconstantharper.com

This state’s flower is the hawthorn. It is a small tree or shrub that grows 6 to 30 feet tall in spring and early summer. The flowers are grouped in broad, dense, flat-topped clusters and resemble cherry or apple blossoms. The petals are usually white or pink. Its abundant red berries attract birds and other animals. Hawthorn is one of the oldest medical plants and it has been used to treat heart problems.

Montana

Pink Bitterroot flowers between rocks

Image: www.flickr.com

Bitterroot is the name of the flower that belongs to this state. This perennial flower is a small, low plant growing only one to three centimeters in height, with pink or white petals and leafless steams. Bitterroots grow on gravelly to heavy, usually dry soil. They are best grown in full sun and where summer rains are abundant.

New York

Red Roses with green leaves

Image: www.colourbox.com

New York is the state of the rose. Roses come in many different shades and colors. They can be seen in gardens and vineyards. Some varieties are known for their prickles along the stems of the plant, which are used to deter predators. They also grow 6 to 8 inches in height. Roses should be planted between November and February and they are available all year round. Roses are considered to be a symbol of love, of course!

Texas

Blue Bonnet with leaves

Image: keeparlingtonbeautiful.com

Feast your eyes on the bluebonnet. This flower blooms in early spring and it grows in stalks about 8 to 12 centimeters long. They are resistant to cold weather and rarely freeze at night. Bluebonnets need time to flower and must be planted in late September or October to ensure that they will bloom in the spring. The cold weather makes the roots develop and the warmer weather allows the seeds to germinate.

Utah

White sego lilies in grass

Image: www.ksl.com

Utah’s state flower is the sego lily. Sego lilies prefer open grass or sage lands and do not need soil to be moist, but they do need depth to spread their roots. This flower blooms in late summer and consists of three large, white, tulip-like petals, which curve upwards and resemble a cup-like structure. They grow up to 6 to 8 inches in height.

Wisconsin

Wood Violet with green leaves

Image: www.tramperstrail.com

Wood violet is this state’s flower. They are irregular in shape and their colors range from deep blue/purple to violet. Sometimes they are white with blue markings. Wood violets have five petals in which the lower ones are longer and the two petals have fine hairs. These flowers bloom in early spring and fall. They also grow up to 4 to 8 inches.

Wyoming

Pink and purple indian paintbrush with butterfly

Image: andrewcarrell1969.deviantart.com

Wyoming is the state of the Indian paintbrush. These flowers are set in clusters and they are known for removing metal toxins from the soil. The roots intertwine with other plants like grasses or sagebrush in order to maintain nourishment. The Indian paintbrush is a perennial, but in some species, they are annuals. They range in colors from red, orange, yellow, and white and they grow 15 to 60 centimeters high.

Garden of flowers

Image: www.973thedawg.com

While you are out in your state park admiring these flowers, you may also have the chance to view wildlife that is attracted to these specific flowers. Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to see wildlife that exist in the state park you are visiting. Also, check out more state apps that we have!